Chad and Nicole had decided to divorce after many years of deep unhappiness and a year of marriage counseling. It was a painful decision for both of them. They had been married for 17 years and had two children, a son, 14, and a 10 year old daughter with a Non-Verbal Learning Disability. Nicole was particularly concerned about their daughter, who had difficulty with transitions and had just started middle school. Nicole was also concerned that, as a stay at home mom, she had not been able to save for retirement.
They decided they did not want to expose their children to the stress and hostility of an adversarial divorce. It was important to them to find a way to keep their children’s needs front and center, and to focus on a parenting plan that would deeply consider their daughter’s special needs. In addition, Chad had recently secured a new job after six months of unemployment, and they both recognized that they needed to preserve as much of their assets as possible to make the divorce work financially.
The Collaborative process made sense to Chad and Nicole on many levels. In the process, they had the opportunity to work with a child specialist who had extensive experience with special needs children in divorce. They crafted a parenting plan targeting both of their children’s needs and specifically addressing their daughter’s transition issues. With the assistance of the neutral financial professional, they created a special needs trust for their daughter. They worked with the financial professional to responsibly plan for both of their future retirement needs, as well as their current financial security.
Nicole phoned her lawyer a year after the divorce had been finalized. “I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am we decided to work in the Collaborative process. The kids are doing great, I feel so much better, and I actually found a part time job that lets me be home after school. Chad and I talk about the kids all the time. I didn’t know it then, but now I understand how valuable the Collaborative process has been for my whole family.”